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New CFPN Credential Creates Bridge to Certification

By Benjamin Dennis, A.S., and Sarah Bosserman Matulewicz, MSN, RN, CNOR

On July 1, the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) will launch a new credential, Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN). The new, voluntary credential establishes a standard of baseline competency for nurses new to the perioperative profession. One of CCI’s strategic goals is to engage perioperative nurses in professional certification earlier in their career. CFPN meets this goal. This new credential is fundamentally different than current CCI credentials.

Previously, perioperative nurses needed to wait a minimum of two years and gain 2,400 hours of experience before being eligible to attain the CNOR certification. However, with this new credential, perioperative nurses who have completed an orientation to perioperative nursing at their home hospital or surgery center are now eligible to test for CFPN certification, well in advance of CNOR eligibility. Giving newly oriented perioperative nurses the opportunity to obtain a certification earlier in their career will promote increased skill and continued education in this unique profession.

To earn the CFPN credential, applicants must first pass a 100-item knowledge-based test (KBT). Those who pass the test, must then complete a self-assessment of perioperative nursing competency, a personality trait (soft skills) assessment and, finally, a reflective learning exercise.

CCI has partnered with Dr. Brigid Gillespie to adapt the Perceived Perioperative Competence Scale-Revised (PPCS-R) for use with American nurses. This instrument will serve as the initial competency assessment. The 16PF assessment is provided through CCI’s testing partner, PSI Assessments, and enables nurses to increase their self-awareness through a personality factor assessment. After completion, each nurse receives a detailed and personalized report which provides them with information about their areas of strengths, as well as opportunities for improvement. Each domain explains personality traits associated with an individual nurse and provides tips and suggestions which can be implemented for their career development.

The last component of the CFPN is a reflective learning exercise. In allowing nurses the opportunity to outline a personalized plan for professional development and continued learning, the reflective exercise enables nurses to contemplate their own journey toward perioperative certification.

The sum of these four components gives a perioperative nurse, early in their career, a true measure of the three components of competency – knowledge, skills and aptitude.

During development, each part of the CFPN credential received input and feedback from perioperative nurses at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a special CCI-appointed committee, the Emerging Professionals Advisory Committee (EPAC). CFPN is unique in that it not only allows new nurses to validate basic knowledge of perioperative practice, but the certification also includes additional elements to help develop those who are new to the perioperative nursing profession. Nurses who choose to continue their certification journey and acquire CNOR will also receive a testing discount, further encouraging them to obtain the certification. Nurses who hold CFPN will become eligible to take their CNOR exam after holding the credential for 18 months if they have 2,400 hours of perioperative nursing practice.CCI began testing for the new credential in June, and applications are now open for CFPN. With the CFPN credential, CCI is continuing to define what it means to be a perioperative nurse and opening the door to certification for newly oriented operating room nurses.

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